Vocabulary Builder: Lesson 1, Why Build Your Vocabulary?

Rather than providing piecemeal articles on improving your vocabulary, we thought we would start a more coherent vocabulary builder program. In this lesson in the Vocabulary Builder series, we ask (and answer) the question: Why build your vocabulary?

Tip: If you really want to build your vocabulary, we highly recommend the popular vocabulary builder Ultimate Vocabulary.* Ultimate Vocabulary generates word flash cards, definitions, examples, and real-life audio pronunciations, and uses other proven elaboration techniques to help you build your vocabulary and retain your word knowledge. Visit Ultimate Vocabulary for details.

In How To Enlarge and Improve Your Vocabulary, Assistant Professor of English at New York University, Richard D Mallery, lists several reasons why you may want to build your vocabulary.

As Mallery mentions, the number of words you use is less important than the success that your words have in making your meaning clear. And you probably speak easily and effectively enough when you use words you're familiar with. And if you describe a common occurrence in common words, you will construct your sentences with little effort. The person you're speaking to will know exactly what you mean.

Yet sometimes you may find you can't say precisely what you have in mind if you limit yourself to just the words you already know. It's now, Mallery says, that you will feel the need to build your vocabulary.

At other times — for example, writing emails and writing important job applications — you might find that the words you know express your meaning well enough, but that to give variety and colour and interest and persuasiveness to your writing you must sometimes use a less familiar word.

Also, in reading books or newspapers or online articles, or listening to talkback radio or watching the news and current affairs programs on TV, or listening to a conversation, you are certain to come across words you don't understand.

You may think you have a good vocabulary, but for one or another of the reasons Assistant Professor Mallery mentions, you will inevitably find yourself wanting to build your stock of words.

Drawing from time-tested sources such as Mallery's How To Enlarge and Improve Your Vocabulary, our Vocabulary Builder lessons will:

  • introduce you to lots of new words
  • share with you clear rules for using words precisely and effectively
  • share with you tips on how to recognise and understand words you may never have heard before

As Mallery suggests, you might even find that learning new words is as fun and interesting as it is important. So keep visiting for regular installments in our Vocabulary Builder lessons.

Richard D Mallery, How To Enlarge and Improve Your Vocabulary (1944), Chapter 1.

*Denise and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Vocabulary. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of the Ultimate Vocabulary software because we are happy to endorse this award-winning vocabulary builder.


Last modified on Friday, 27 November 2015 02:46
English Language Skills (Troy)

English Language Skills (Troy)

I have a law degree, I've run an award-winning business, and I am a published author.

My most popular book is Funny English Errors and Insights: Illustrated.

My new book is The Funny Dictionary.

I have a particular interest in vocabulary improvement and speed reading.

Website: www.english-language-skiils.com E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
You are here: Improve Your Vocabulary Vocabulary Builder: Lesson 1, Why Build Your Vocabulary?